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Community team work helps pave the way for new fibre broadband technology in Burton-on-Trent

Hundreds more households and businesses in Burton-on-Trent are now able to access faster fibre broadband thanks to the Superfast Staffordshire roll-out, spearheaded by Staffordshire County Council and BT.

The Wetmore Road area is the latest part of the town to benefit from Superfast Staffordshire, which is part of the Government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

The news has been welcomed by local residents, businesses and Andrew Griffiths MP, who helped the Superfast Staffordshire project team overcome an unusual engineering challenge.

In most cases, new equipment needed to connect local premises to the fibre optic network is installed on council land, but that was not possible in this case. Mr Griffiths worked with the Superfast Staffordshire team and the local community to help find a suitable solution to enable the upgrade work to go ahead.

As a result, a new fibre broadband metal cabinet and fibre optic cabling has been installed on the site of Willshee's commercial waste management company.

Now more than 400 more local premises are now able to upgrade, with some already reaping the benefits of faster download and upload speeds.

Andrew Griffiths MP said: "This is a great example of what can be achieved when we work together, and I'm delighted fibre broadband is now live in another part of Burton-on-Trent. I'm keen for as many local people as possible to have access to this important technology and will continue to support Superfast Staffordshire as they work to find solutions for the pockets of the county that are not yet covered."

Dean Willshee, managing director of Willshee's said: "When the situation was explained to us, we were pleased to help. The arrival of faster fibre broadband is great news for the area."

Father-of-two, Dr Paul Smith, who was one of the first residents in the Wetmore Road area to upgrade, said the changeover had gone really smoothly and he and his family had noticed the difference straight away.

He said: "As a family we use the internet in lots of different ways both for leisure and learning. We have all noticed the difference since upgrading to fibre broadband. It was easy to upgrade and our download and upload speeds are now ten times faster making gaming and watching videos online much more fun. We will probably ditch some of our DVDs now and make the most of our smart TV by switching to streaming TV content and downloading films."

Lee Bailey, managing director of domestic and commercial flooring specialists, Central Floors, based at Northside Business Park, hopes upgrading to fibre broadband will increase the productivity of the firm, which has more than 40 suppliers worldwide and customers in all corners of the UK.

He said: "We rely heavily on the internet to run our company - we use it for everything, from making customer appointments to pricing. Nearly all of our sales are made online so our website is very important to us as our 'shop window'. We update the site ourselves and hope the improved upload speeds will enable us showcase many more new product lines, and in turn hopefully lead to an increase in our sales.

"I also expect our productivity to improve. We have to share a lot of large design files and photos with our customers and suppliers via email, which we hope will be much quicker after we've upgraded to fibre broadband."

Steve Bowring, managing director of nearby Stemik Gaming Limited - a family-run firm, supplying everything from darts, table football, snooker and pool equipment to gaming and fruit machines - is also hoping upgrading to fibre broadband will be the 'cue' for further business expansion.

He said: "These days we do most of our sales online so speed is of the essence. We hope being able to load images and product details more quickly will improve our sales - because the more listings we have, the more sales we can make.

"Our customers are worldwide and we're proud of our reputation for good customer service. Put simply, faster fibre broadband will help us provide an even better service to our customers, increase the range of items we sell and that in turn will help us expand our business."

Councillor Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council's economy leader, said: "We're reaching the final stages of the Superfast Staffordshire project; connecting tens of thousands of properties and opening up opportunities for people and business. From time to time we face a challenge like this, so we're grateful to Wilshee's and the input of Mr Griffiths. This is going to make a real difference to yet another Staffordshire community."

Kasam Hussain, BT's senior project manager for Superfast Staffordshire, said: "The roll-out of Superfast Staffordshire is a huge engineering programme, but the roll-out is progressing well. Every day we're seeing how this exciting technology is benefiting local people in different ways."


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